paper trail

May 16, 2011 @ 4:00:00 am

James Gleick, photo by Phyllis Rose for the New York Times

A visit to Google’s campus in Silicon Valley has become a necessary stop on authors’ book tours. Since 2005, the Googleplex has hosted more than one-thousand author talks, including readings by Tina Fey, Christopher Hitchens, and novelist Junot Diaz. Recently, technology writers James Gleick (The Information) and Evgeny Morozov (The Net Delusion) made appearances, the latter author making an unpopular argument about “the dark side of Internet freedom,” while sitting in the heart of the techno-utopians’ home field. We hope that Siva Vaidhyanathan will be invited to the Plex and initiate a lively debate about his book The Googlization of Everything (And Why we Should Worry).

How do you get your MFA in Tweeting? By studying the greats.

Joyce Carol Oates’s recent memoir A Widow’s Story is an elegy for her long-time husband, Ray. In a review for the NYRB, Julian Barnes writes that perhaps Oates should have mentioned her remarriage thirteen months after Ray’s death, because “some readers will feel they have a good case for breach of narrative promise.” Oates has responded with a tart letter to the editor: “Since nothing seems to arouse reproach in reviewers quite so much as the possibility that the memoirist is less miserable at the time of the writing and afterward than she was at the time of the experience about which she is writing, it is only sensible to include an appendix to remedy this, which I will hope to do.”

A new collection of letters from a fifty-year friendship between author Eudora Welty and editor William Maxwell includes this note about the literary afterlife from Maxwell: “Good writers do not die. They simply pass into their works and go right on living”

Adam Foulds’s last novel, The Quickening Maze, was a historical fiction with prose so lyrical it seemed about to break into verse at any moment, vividly depicting the life of the brilliant and troubled nineteenth-century poet John Clare. Foulds’s new book, The Broken Word, is an epic poem relating a true story—the 1950s Mau Mau uprisings in Kenya.